Monday, September 07, 2009

Satchi-sir in Russia; Rise of the Russian Mafia

Noted Malayalam poet and writer K. Satchidanandan (fondly called Satchi-sir) is in Russia attending a book fair. He has also done a reading of his poems. According to a post on his Facebook Page, “Was at the Writers' Union and Moscow State University. Leaving for St. Petersburg tomorrow. This is a different Russsia where money alone rules. Is there no way between totalitarianism and the market horror?”

Understand his angst. In a reply I wrote:

“I guess Russia went from totalitarianism to market greed because their leaders and intellectuals didn't forsee what was coming. Hope the same doesn't happen in India.”

In this regard I came across this Wikiwhen I was coasting along the net with my mouse as my surf board (I guess, a mouse's back is quite a slippery place, that's beside the point!). It gives the reasons why society gives rise to the Mafia as it did in Sicily and Russia:

“Excessive Bureaucratic Power

“In general, excessive bureaucratic power and discretion provide the basis for corruption -- for bribery, shakedowns, and extortion -- especially when the criteria for bureaucratic decisions are unclear and difficult to monitor and evaluate. The corruption of a bureaucratic agency may begin with the clients of the agency, such as the members of a regulated industry. In the Soviet Union bribes were necessary to secure everything from drivers' licensee to medical care and even higher education, as well as goods.

“Illegal Markets

“Illegal market enterprises generate a good deal of cash that can be used for bribes and investment in other industries. It is easier for legal authorities to overlook voluntary trade among consenting adults, even if illegal, than it is to take bribes to permit crimes that involve victims. Law enforcement agencies may be able to meet their quotas for arrests more easily if they cooperate with the market leaders in illegal industry. Illegal drug markets have been a major factor in the virulence of the Sicilian mafia in the last several decades.”

Rings a bell? In this regard don’t say I didn’t warn you about what I mentioned in para 3 above. The Indian Mafia, too, needs to be controlled.

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